Police want ‘prostitution-free’ zone to include Chinatown
The number of prostitutes in downtown Honolulu has roughly doubled in recent months, prompting Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa to call for an expansion of an existing "prostitution-free zone" to include Chinatown.
The Star-Bulletin begins a two-day series examining the prostitution problem in downtown Honolulu, particularly on Kukui Street, where the recent influx of prostitutes has residents and business people worried and taking action to fight the problem.
While some say it is not the perfect solution, noting that it only displaces prostitutes, Maj. Kevin Lima of the Honolulu Police Department's Narcotics/Vice Division said yesterday that it is an effective tool for officers to use.
The so-called "prostitution-free zone" calls for jail time or probation for anyone convicted of engaging in prostitution in the area.
"It affords us the opportunity to arrest people for their return to the site once they've been arrested for prostitution," Lima noted at a news conference.
The current prostitution-free zone downtown is bounded by Bethel Street, Nuuanu Avenue, Punchbowl Street, Nimitz Highway and H-1. The police would like to see it expanded to Aala Street so it encompasses Chinatown.
Community concerns about prostitution were heightened following a July 1 shooting in which a 24-year-old man was killed, allegedly by a pimp.